The South Korean Armed Forces began replacing the decades-old K-3 and M60 general-purpose machine guns. South Korean broadcaster Arirang reported that South Korea on December 15 started deploying new locally-developed 7.62 mm-caliber machine guns to the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) under a project to replace the existing decades-old equipment and reinforce combat capabilities. SNT Motiv Co., a local defense firm, developed the K-16, while the thermal scope is supplied by Eo System Co. under the procurement project estimated at 124.2 billion won ($104.7 million). The K-16 machine gun is mounted with a thermal imaging scope that combines a compact thermographic camera and an aiming reticle. It is also equipped with handles to facilitate the easier exchange of gun barrels and reduce recoil.
According to the South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), the weapon has been designed with significant power, range, and reliability enhancement to support mechanized units during close combat. The new 7.62 mm-caliber machine gun can hit targets at a distance of more than one kilometer (0.6 miles), around 30 percent farther than the K-3 light machine gun. The K-16 also reportedly boasts destructive power nearly double that of the K-3. K16’s basic model can be used to suppress massed troops during close combat. The K16E coaxial model is operated to support the close combat of mechanized units. A coaxial machine gun is fitted to a coaxial mount as a secondary weapon besides a vehicle’s main weapon. The K16D model is mounted on tanks, armored vehicles, helicopters, and ships.
SNT Motiv Co., Ltd (formerly S&T Motiv and previously Daewoo Precision Industries/S&T Daewoo) is a South Korean firearms and auto parts manufacturer founded in 1981. Its firearms equip most frontline units of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces. Daewoo Precision Industries Co., Ltd was established in December 1981 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daewoo to manufacture small arms and upright/grand pianos under the Sojin and Daewoo brands. Following the collapse of Daewoo, the company was spun off in February 2002 and relisted on the Korean stock market in March 2002. The majority of its shares were purchased by S&T Holdings in June 2006 and it was renamed S&T Daewoo Co., Ltd in September 2006. In March 2012 the company was renamed S&T Motiv Co., Ltd. In DX Korea 2018, the company announced the development of a 9mm revolver based on requirements for Korean law enforcement agencies and an AR-10-type rifle for a potential Korean military contract. In February 2021, S&T Motiv changed its name to SNT Motiv.